Monday, December 29, 2008
I really like this picture of Matthew (Uncle Daisey) and Jo. She adores her Uncle Daisey. (We named the dog Daisey, haha). This is Christmas day. I like this picture so much because last year we were unsure if there would be any more pictures. Matthew had a bad motorcycle wreck. He spent a month in the hospital of which he does not remember the first two weeks. He then spent two months at my house recovering. Today he is back at work. If you saw him now you would not know he had the wreck. His recovery has been remarkable. But we remember and that is why I love pictures like this.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
First let's get this Texas weather thing taken care of. Man, I know it is snowy, rainy etc. up north but this extreme temperature changes is making my RA go wacko. Earlier in the month we had had that cold front that left us with 25 degrees in the morning and what felt like a wind chill of 25 below. Then we warmed up and had some nice days of consistant medium weather cool in the morning but warming up to 60-ish which is nice and tolerable. We actually had a record high on I believe Christmas eve of 83. Now wait a minute, it is December and while we do not live in the land of snow I really do not want 83 at Christmas. The forcast for Saturday was to be warmer than normal. Okay. I just did not expect it to be 74 degrees when I woke up. 74 degrees!! The wind had been really gusting and the trees were all whipping around and any leaves left are now long gone. About 10:00 it got very dark. You could see the line of clear sky with what looked like a straight line of grey clouds straight across. It was "tornado-ish" looking. Then it started to rain. At that point the temperature had dropped to 61. The rain lasted about 45 minutes and then it was gone. By 11:00 it was down to 51 degrees but by 2:30 it was back up to 64 and it was sunny. By 5:45 it was 57, 8:40 it was 49 and by 10:15 it was 46. I get up this morning and it was 32 degrees. Right now it is 52 degrees. I know you are thinking did she have nothing to do but check the weather all day. I was busy doing other things but was really curious just how much the temperature would change throughout the day. The reason is that with rheumatoid arthritis drastic weather changes can make you go from feeling fine to not wanting to move out of your chair. Even with medications it is better to have either one or the other, just a more level variation instead of 40 degrees in less than 24 hours.
One of the things I did accomplish was finishing the baby socks. I think they came out really cute. I wish I could find the site on the internet that I printed the pattern from. It was one of those that you click here and click there and then click somewhere else. I have looked all the places I thought I might have gotten it but to no luck. Most sites will print at the bottom of the page their web address but this one did not. It really is almost a minature version of Yarn Harlot's Basic Sock Recipe. In the decrease at the toe they decrease only and do not knit in between the rows. I do have to say that after a very severe case of "fear of the Kitchener Stitch" I absolutely love using it. This pattern just called for pulling the yarn thru the toe but I did Kitchener and think it turned out very nice. I will post a pix of it on my projects page on Ravelry. I immediately cast on the next pair of socks on size 2.50 mm needles with yarn that Allison had picked out from Shabby Sheep. It is Katia Mississippi 3, a cotton and acrylic blend. The color is #789 Forest Green. It is very soft and pleasing to work with. I also still have two socks, each the first in a pair, on the needles. They get worked on when doing a K2, P2 rib for four inches makes me crazy or I need to knit only because of distraction. But now I need to get knitting and see if I can perhaps finish the first little green sock today. With no distractions it might happen.
Friday, December 26, 2008
I had planned, in the spirit of world holiday, on participating in the Boxing Day sale at Shabby Sheep today. It was only from 10-2. I got distracted in wading through my stash and sorting through patterns and missed the sale. I was looking for the pattern I wanted to use for the coming grandbaby's birth hat. When you make so many hats, even have pictures of all of them in spirals and ring binders, you still can forget exactly which one it was or where it is. This is especially true if you have modified the pattern. The yarn is stacked in the basket by my chair and I think I found the right pattern. The first hat is always just simple roll brim. This is not the best picture, a little fuzzy, but this is my Jo. She was only maybe a week old. She weighed 10lb 2oz when she was born. The second picture is a more recent picture. Allison sent me this and I truly cannot remember when I knit this hat. So off I go to get the little hat on the needles. Yes, I know I still have two socks and a pair of booties already cast on but really, what is one more project?
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Ok, I know that there have been blizzards all over the northern part of the country but we have had a little cold weather. Jo has been thinking that it could not be Christmas unless it snowed. Well it has not snowed but how about this fountain. It was misty today with the threat of freezing rain but Jo, Allison and I trekked to Carrollton to see Grandma and take her some flowers from Aunt Jane Ellen. The fountain out front of her apartment was frozen solid. Actually it was very cool, no pun intended. Jo had her Princess unbrella to keep any rain off of her. She also had her new pink mittens that I knitted her. I had extended the cuff so they stay tucked into her jacket nicely. We brought Grandma a big vase of carnations in red, white and pink. She was very excited. These flowers are what we call "grocery store" flowers. I have found they last better than those from the florist. We went to Garden Ridge after visiting Grandma. It certainly is almost Christmas. The "crazies" are out in full force and traffic was awful. That aside we had a great afternoon ending with having Starbucks coffee and cakes at Barnes and Noble. We went to the children's section and Jo and I read some books while her mom shopped. I don't think we will have snow for Christmas but I think I will take some extra yarn when we head to the Ponderosa on Christmas day. If it were to snow and we were to have to stay the night I know what the important things are to have with you. Any prescriptions and a knitting bag full of yarn.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Well the first baby sock is finished. The pattern is really a mini version of Yarn Harlot's Basic Sock Recipe. I found this particular pattern on the Internet and printed it off. Problem is the site was not listed at the bottom of the page and I cannot find it now even though I have searched "everywhere". But is is very basic and if I ever find the site again I will label it. I was searching everywhere for simple sock pattern that I did not have to reduce. I can't believe it did not reference itself. So back to the sock. It is made of Tofutsies color #852 and 2.5 mm needles. This is the same skein of yarn that I made Jo's socks out of earlier this year. It turned out really cute and the little cuff looks like it will fit well without being too tight. The second sock is cast on so off I go to knit on it.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
I love knitting socks. They are compact for travel, they can be worked on a few rows at a time and they are a nice change of pace if you have been using worsted yarn and large size needles. Sock yarn and size 2.50 mm double point needles are simply bliss. I sing the praises of Yarn Harlot and her Basic Sock Recipe. Her simple sock recipe enabled me to love knitting socks. In the last three months besides all my other knitting I have made myself three pair, Jo Ellen two pair and I have three more on needles. The first one here is Tofutsies #852. These are actually baby socks for the new grandbaby. I used this yarn for Jo earlier so they will have matching socks. The second one is Tofutsies #855. They are coming along and I am almost to making the heel. Interestingly they have swirled instead of striping. The third one is Online Afrika. I am making the "sturdy heel" recommended by Yarn Harlot. I have found that I like making that particular heel as it wears well. The next pair will be Lang Yarns Jawoll #793. I won't cast them on until the others are done because I do not have another set of 2.5mm needles. Well I guess I could make a trip to The Shabby Sheep again and get some more. All of these yarns came from Shabby Sheep. If you live in the Dallas area stop in for a visit. They are a fantastic shop. Back to the socks......
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Yesterday it was cold. The high was 40 but it felt colder. Today the high was 47. Jo and Allison came today to do some Christmas "finishing up." We asked Coach to go with us and he bought us lunch at our favorite Mexican resturant, El Fenix. Of course I knew that if we went there that Jo would want to go to our LYS, The Shabby Sheep, and see Abby "The Yarn Dog". Of course we went and I got a couple of skeins to knit baby socks for her new baby sister who is set to make her debut in March. Dasher, Abby's dog friend, was there also and while Abby was sleeping Dasher made the trip worthwhile for Jo. He followed her around the shop and was very happy to let her rub his back and kiss his nose. We headed to Sam's to pick up beef jerky to put in Uncle Joseph's stocking we are mailing tomorrow. He won't be home for Christmas this year and will be on post at Ft Benning so we want him to have the traditional stocking filling. I mean all Texans like beef jerky in their stocking, right? We finished our Christmas food shopping and are making some changes in the spread this year. Everything is going to be easier to make. My RA is flaring and Allison being pregnant we decided the time had come to "let the women enjoy Christmas too." I have spent many years in the kitchen for hours and hours. I think we can enjoy it just as much if I do not have to get up at 4:30 am to start the food. We are having a Greenberg turkey again this year. If you have never ordered one (out of Tyler, Texas) you are missing out on perfection. Wonderful.
After shopping we came back to the house. Aunt Jane Ellen had mailed Jo a new hat and scarf. I mean too cute. These pictures do not do justice to it. Hopefully I will have better ones on Ravelry but we were in a hurry. It is a Glow Worm hat and scarf. The hat is in Bernat Glow yarn lavender with a white glow worm coming out of the top where you would normally decrease and tie off. She added the white and continued to knit the glow worm and then made sure it was sewn down on the hat. It is so cute. The tongue is red and actually curls around. The whole hat glows but the worm is fantastic since it is white. You just set it out under light to "charge" and then it glows. The scarf was the same lavender and then was trimmed in the white and had lavender tassels. If you have wondered about this yarn it is fantastic. It is the same yarn I used when I made Jo a pumpkin hat at Halloween. When Jo saw it she said oooooohhhhh. So it was a success. Christmas Eve is a week from today. Do you have your shopping done?
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Ok, Ok, I know this does not look like snow but when you live in Texas you take what you can get. It snowed a little more than this but not much. Mostly my car doors were frozen shut and my windows were iced over but I did see flakes. I lived in Illinois when I was a small kid and I do remember walking to school in the snow and building snowmen. My most favorite memory of snow was the Christmas I got a bike and my dad taught me to ride it, in the snow. So what do you do on a day when you have said "I am not getting out." People here drive crazy in just the least amount of ice or snow. Well as good luck would have it there were four hours of NCIS on. Love that show. During that time I cleared off a bunch of old e-mails, typed up some stuff I had put off and worked on my newest sock. I really like this yarn. It is OnLine Afrika. I got it at Shabby Sheep in Dallas. OnLine has some of the neatest patterns I have seen. Pretty soon it will be time to start knitting for the new grand-baby. My socks may be set aside during that time but heck I have three pair on needles right now as it is. Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Normally I would be writing of all the fun I had this week playing with Jo and the knitting I have also acomplished. News Flash--Glenn Beck was in Irving. In short he was supposed to be signing his new book at Borders in Dallas last night. I had been in Ponder playing with Jo while her parents were having some work done on their house. It took longer than expected and I actually had forgotten the book signing was last night. Yesterday morning I checked my e-mail before I left "The Ponderosa" and I had an updated e-mail saying that Glenn would be in Irving. I was shocked, I mean Dallas yes, but Irving? Not only that but at Wal-Mart. Not only Wal-Mart but the one I pass headed home. How could I not check and see if this was true. I actually had thought I might go home and get my camera and my book at the house but instead Allison and I got all the rest of the Chrismas shopping done (yeah!) so I was running a little later. I ended up at Wal-Mart at 6 pm. Glenn was set to arrive at 8 pm. Two hours, hmm, no chairs, nothing except a table of books. There were two policemen and one girl and I asked if she knew anything. Not really except he was supposed to be there at 8 pm. Well, ok, she saved my spot, #3, and I went and bought two more books and got back in line. No one really knew much except he was supposed to be there at 8. We really wondered if he would be there and one man finally found the assistant manager who said yes Glenn was signing and that he was flying in from Tyler. The line slowly grew in length. At one point one of Glenn's reps who was setting up brought a Marine up and asked if she could come to the front. We said not only could she but she should be the first to meet him. Our little group of about six people had a great time and talked about everything under the sun. Capt. Hoag told us about some of her service, the job she does now and that she had done two tours in Iraq. She was and is an excellent representative of what is good about our country. We chatted about Glenn's radio show and the fact that he has just made the move from CNN to FoxNews. Most agreed it was a good move. Glenn's rep came back and told us they were running late due to large crowds in Tyler. Most of the time you would groan at having to wait in line but really it was a lot of fun and went quickly. Glenn finally arrived about 8:30 with a smile on his face. I have no idea how long the line was but he signed non-stop for about half an hour. The average time spent with each person was probably 15 seconds. Now that might not seem long but with as many people as there were the line had to keep moving. He did sign as many books as you wanted, looked straight in your eyes, said thank you for coming and shook your hand. He also had enough time to a little conversation. You might not think you could get that much into 15-20 seconds but you can. Most people stood around and took pictures after getting their books signed. Glenn was on a tight schedule but he did not leave until everyone had their books signed and then stood there a few minutes for pictures. Then off he went to get on his bus and back to the airport. If you follow his show you know he is doing a tour and a show in which he presents his book, "The Christmas Sweater." My pictures are from my cell phone and none are of me. The last one is of Capt. Hoag. I did not get her face as after a few pictures I had no room left. This was definately fun and two hours that were not wasted. Yes Allison, I am resting today.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
What is it with some yarns today? Now I feel there is a need for all kinds and prices of yarns, wool, alpaca, acrylic, blends, well you can see whatever type of yarn that "floats your boat." I use different yarns for different needs. I like wool or wool blends for socks, alpaca (mmmm) for my lace shawls, blends for blankies and assorted knitting and acrylic for some types of knitting that is going to be used roughly or worn out quickly and is not of "keepsake value" or that I know is probably going to get jammed in the closet and worn once a year.
I know that finances can sometimes cause us to choose one yarn over another. I have purchased expensive yarn and I have purchased "cheap" yarn. Back when I first started knitting, and crocheting, there was very little yarn that was not acrylic or a blend. If there was better yarn at the few yarns shops around it was just not affordable for me. I bought a lot of yarn from Merribee (who I worked for, for a while), from Sanger Harris (anyone else remember that?), and from K-Mart. Yeah, it was a long time ago. The yarn I bought was mostly acrylic, probably all acrylic. I bought it in worsted weight and sport weight and I knitted up a storm. I knitted baby blankies and booties, some afghans, and I crocheted afghans and one year I even made all the women in my family shawls for Christmas. That was a lot of shawls even though it was a pretty simple pattern. Where is she going with this rambling you are now asking yourself. To here. Today most every yarn I use be it wool, alpaca or blends of these natural fibers (I don't use much cotton), are all of good quality fiber. The problem I have run into is that when I use an acrylic yarn the quality has gone into the toilet. Hah, I just had to say that. My sister and I have made a game out of comparing the old acrylic yarn to the new. Remember now when you knit for a long time you have shall we say adequate yarn in your stash for comparison. Jane Ellen also saves snips for future color/weight reference. Now you might ask well then why do you use it if it is so bad. Jane Ellen and I knit massive amounts of hats for a group called Knit-A-Cap. This group started a long time ago and has continued to provide hats for Native American children on reservations throughout the United States. It was started by a teacher and a doctor who were knitterly friends. One of the problems for these children was missing school due to ear infections. Research showed that simple knitted sock caps for these kids helped fight the ear infections which in turn meant the kids did not miss school. In not missing school and getting basic education in the early years (Pre-K through 1st grade) the kids had a better chance of succeeding in their later education. We use a very basic cap pattern. If you have seen my site on Ravelry, most all my hats for Jo are this pattern or a version of it. Because a lot of these kids live in very depressed areas they do not have a lot of "stuff". They get one cap and they might not get a new one the next year. I have never had any of my hats go to the same place and I have been sending hats since 2003. Our hats are sent to The Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington, DC and our liason there then contacts the schools in need and the hats are sent out to that school. If we are lucky we sometimes get pictures of the kids with the hats. If we don't it's ok, we know that somewhere a little boy or girl's ears are warmer because of those hats. That's the satisfaction. If you think I have digressed from my original thought I haven't. Knit-A-Cap requests that all the hats be made of acrylic and are easy to wash. They want every hat to be standard. You can use any colors you want but the pattern must be the same and the yarn must be worsted weight. Acrylic makes for easy use. My problem is that some of the acrylic yarns being produced today are cheap, thin and worthless. The quality just in the last year and a half makes them not an option for use for these hats. Red Heart yarn is off the list of acceptable yarn for me to use. Even their new soft yarn, which I have used for various things, is not thick enough for some of these kids. Some of my hats have gone to Barrow, Alaska. It gets pretty cold up there. I heard recently in all the PC global crap that we are being subjected to that a lot of companies are now using recycled plastic soda bottles. Ok, I felt it and I don't want it and I do not want some child that needs a hat to have to wear a scratchy, thin and inferior hat just because companies are now trying to make money in some form or fashion. Now I understand being ecologically minded and caring for the environment but, I draw the line at this aberration they are calling yarn. Using wool or some other type of natural fiber is not acceptable because some children have allergies. I have gone on a hunt to find yarn that is acceptable to use for these hats and for hats I might want to whip up for a rambuncious grandchild. I have found that the best yarn of this type in thickness is Bernat. They have many that are true worsted weight and are soft. Vanna yarn from Lion Brand is also a good choice and is soft and a thicker yarn. There may be others out there but these are what I am using now. I live in a city that does not have one yarn shop or craft store. I am used to driving 25 to 30 minutes to get to the closest store. I do not live in a small town just one that thinks there are no knitterly people living in it. My Hobby Lobby even moved out to another city. But I digress.
The point is why are some companies passing off such poor yarn products? There are three picture here today. They are not of good quality because they are pictures of pictures. The first one is the very first picture I got from a teacher of two children wear a couple of the hats I knitted. The second is a rather old picture of my sister and I with some of the hats we knitted before they were boxed up and sent to the kids. The third is of a pair of mittens I am working on for Jo. I started them this morning after deciding the ones I made her, shown yesterday, were too short and she need some more cuff length. She asked for Flamingo Pink. Of course this was in the stash. Interestingly it is Red Heart Kids, worsted weight. I bought it who knows how may years ago. The difference between this "old" yarn and what is on the shelves today it unbelievable. I understand ecology and recycling. I also understand wanting to make money. I am not against the capitalist system, God Bless America. What I am against is producing and inferior product and passing it off as the same or better that the previous product.
Ok, I have been on my soapbox today. All the views posted here are mine and not necessarily those of the management. If you have any interest in knitting hats for the children mentioned here just leave me a comment and I will give you the info. I love yarn, I love knitters and I love the fact that there is so much available for us today to choose from. Keep on Knitting!
Friday, December 5, 2008
Well today was a better day. The insurance problems are still not settled but I played with Jo and Allison today. When things are always in chaos it is amazing what just spending time with the grandbaby can do. Of course at three she thinks she is very big and I am starting to think time is flying by too quickly. We met at the mall in Denton and of course had to have our Starbucks coffee, she had apple juice. I brought her the surprise I promised to bring which was not just the scarf to go with her Santa hat but a pair of mittens too. The mittens were the same pattern as last year's camo mittens and her hand had not grown much but after putting them on I decided that the cuff was too short and I needed to make some adjustments to the pattern. I asked her what color she wanted the next pair in and she said flamingo pink of which I happen to have in my stash. Ah, stash, it's a wonderful thing. So that is my job tomorrow to get going on the new mittens. We stayed at Barnes and Noble for story time and the cutest little boy named Archie was there. He and Jo got a long good and as they were waiting for the story girl they looked at books and shared back and forth. Little kids are so great. They see each other on equal footing at this young age. After story time we left to let Jo play on the playground at the mall. Of course we had to have Rice Boxx for lunch as that was part of the plan to make YoYo feel better after such an aggrevating week. My girls always know how to make me feel better. Gotta love 'em.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Well today was a continuation of stressful dealings with insurance companies, medicare and people who are not cooperating with making this process go smoothly. Very frustrating. So here is picture of two of my favorite guys. Only a brother could get away with hitting someone it the rear with a golf club while he is trying to tee off. They make me laugh.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Ok, there is a reason why this picture is here. I took it one day when Jo was being funny and making funny faces. But this is kindof what I felt like today, like I had someone trying to pull out my brain thru my nose. Well not really but it was such a trying day. The weather has changed so my RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) was acting up especially in my knee and leg. Thank goodness not my hands and I could still knit. I have another surprise finished for you Jo. I have been dealing with a job change that changed my insurance and the "darned" waiting period and getting all the stuff set up in hopes of not missing a Remicade infusion. So that is all for today. Just a funny picture to make me laugh.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Today was the first day of December and it felt like it. At one point it was 47 degrees. Allison and Jo and I went to Southlake today to go to Central Market. It was cold! well, I think it was the wind that made it so cold. I love it. Central Market has wonderful samples and Jo thought she needed to go there today to have some. Unfortunately when we got there we were too early and no samples were out. We decided to come back later so we went across the street to the square. There was a Santa display, minus Santa, but his sleigh was there. Jo had to pretend she was driving the sleigh. Notice her hat. I just gave it to her. I made it out of Red Heart soft yarn in Cherry Red and trimmed it in Bernat camouflage in white. I knitted the tip in white and then put a red jingle bell on the end. I think it turned out the best of any Santa hats I have made. It was absolutely freezing in the sleigh, that's appropriate. It was in the stage area and in the shade and the wind was whipping through. Cold! When we asked Jo where she would like to have lunch she said Mi Cocina. She likes to have the same thing all the time and it seems that when we are in Southlake at the square she has to have Mexican food. After lunch we went to Hobby Lobby looking for some yarn to make a scarf to match her Santa hat. I wanted some Fun Fur to go with it. We also looked at yarn for a baby blankie for the wee one. Her arrival will be in March so we have a bit but will have to choose some soon. Then we headed back to Central Market hoping the samples would be out. They were. We ended up getting more groceries than we intended but this is such a great store. They have a huge coffee area and you can grind your own beans. As we were going down the water aisle I told Allison to look at the "green water." Well it is Mountain Valley Spring water. I had her take a picture. Yeah, I know, crazy. But, this is Aunt Jane Ellen's favorite water, there is a long story behind that, and now I know where we can get it here. So this pix is for you JE. As exhaustion set in the weary shoppers headed back home. After supper I cast on for the new scarf. Ok, I have only 4 projects going right now so that is pretty good. Wonder how long it will be that few.